The U.K. Maritime & Coastguard Agency has appointed a new Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSRep) Maritime Salvage & Intervention to oversee responses to accidents at sea.
Les Chapman will work alongside the existing SOSRep Hugh Shaw OBE for several months, to allow a transition period before assuming the role and responsibilities of the SOSRep later on in the year.
The SOSRep is responsible for reducing the risk to safety and the environment arising from accidents at sea. Recent incidents which were overseen by the current SOSRep Shaw include the Transocean Winner rig grounding off the Isle of Lewis in 2016 and the Hoegh Osaka car carrier incident in the Solent in 2015.
Chapman is no stranger to the maritime world, having graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada and served in both the U.K.'s Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy – as part of the former, he qualified for nuclear submarine command and held four command appointments.
Over the course of a career spanning the maritime, security and transportation industries, Chapman has also worked with a number of commercial maritime organizations including Associated British Ports, DNV and The Maritime Group. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and the Nautical Institute, a Liveryman of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators, The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.
Chapman said: “The SOSRep role can be a difficult but very rewarding one, as it’s all about providing protection and safety in the maritime world. I’m looking forward to working alongside Hugh Shaw as I familiarize myself with all aspects of the job.”
Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, commented: “We are committed to safety of life and the environment at sea through safer lives, safer ships, cleaner seas. As we have seen from many serious incidents in U.K. waters over recent years, the SOSRep has a unique and critical role in rapidly and effectively marshalling the resources of all parties to achieve the best possible outcomes.
“I am delighted we have appointed Les Chapman as our new SOSRep. Les brings highly relevant skills and experience with him, and I am sure he will be an excellent successor to Hugh Shaw OBE, who has done a superb job over the years in growing the effectiveness and influence of the SOSRep role.”